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Monday, April 1, 2013

Verde Canyon Railroad ride

It’s got to be an April Fool’s joke right? Just read it is snow at home. In April? Yep!
Hope everyone who celebrates it had a Very Happy Easter and the Easter Bunny brought you all the chocolate you can eat.
It was a perfect day here yesterday. Sunshine, blue sky and puffy white clouds and temperatures in the high 70s low 80s. Just right for a train  ride!
First breakfast at Denny’s – Because it was Easter Sunday at 10:00 we didn’t go to the 101 Omelet place in Sedona or Georgies in Cottonwood – They will wait for another day.
So fortified we headed for Clarkdale to the Verde Canyon Railroad. We took the ride a few years ago but thought it would be fun to do again.
And guess who we met there? The Easter Bunny!
Clarkdale was a company town. If you lived there you worked for the big copper mine. And your house was owned by the company and you bought your necessities from the company store. Copper is why the railroad was built. The tracks followed the Verde River through desert and canyons.
The 38 miles of track was completed in one year. 1911 to 1912. It cost $1.3 million. 250 men using mules, picks and shovels and lots of black powder explosives to build it.
We got reservations for a coach rail car. Each coach car has access to an open car. Refreshments are available in the cars. We rode in the Cottonwood car built in 1946-47.
Getting ready to board.
Leaving the station the first thing we passed is the huge slag dump. It is part of the waste material from the old smelter and was poured in a molten state. Iron pipes and sheet metal kept it from flowing on the tracks. As it cooled it turned in a very hard material. What we seen now. The old iron pipes and metal rusted and broken.
As we passed along the valley we were given information on the Sinagua Indians who used to live in the area. Soon we passed over the S.O.B. Bridge – No it actually means Superintendent of Bridges. It is the highest and longest trestle on the route. It also is a great place to get a picture of the train as it rounds the curving trestle.
Looking down off the bridge to the Verde River below.
As we continued up the canyon we saw smoke up on the ridges. Indians sending up smoke signals to ambush us? Probably not. Some how a fire started up there in the middle of nothing. The conductor called it in. [It was still burning and hadn’t really gotten bigger when we came back.-Not much fuel up there.]
There are bald eagles in the area but this time I see them. Did see the beautiful red rocks though. [After looking at this picture I want to mention something that happened just as we pulled back into the station. A man with an accent was agitated pointing up at the sky. He was saying that that was not a real cloud – pointing at a contrail – and that those are real clouds – pointing to the puffy clouds. He was saying “They are spraying us.” Bill answered “no those are from jet planes.” The guy didn’t seem to believe him. Oh well]
Another look at the river and the mountains way back in the background.
A closer look at the layers in the rocks.
Taken from the out door car – we were really close to the rocks at this point. Keep your arms inside.
This is as far as we go – the little town of Perkinsville – or what is left of it. Not much. Though they did say that the depot was used in “How the West was Won.”
Here the engine was unhooked and on a siding brought to the other end of the train for the trip back to Clarksdale. Love the engine.
Just another look at the hills and the trees near the river which are full of new spring growth.
Really red hills. And we got lots of information about why the hills are red. I'll share some of that info in a later post. 
Serene spot of river, trees and hills.
Blue skies, white clouds and red hills.
The out door car with its sun shade – thank goodness.
The river reflection the red mountain, blue sky and white clouds next to it.
Couldn’t resist this. Our shadow. Those are my legs to the far right.
What a great day. Got back to the station at almost five o’clock. Then home. The RV park is really full – the fullest we’ve ever seen it.
Going to get this posted as it is another beautiful day and omelets are calling us and so is the Red Rock loop and the hike to Cathedral Rock. I took a couple of videos but forgot to format them. Later. 
Have a good day. 

1 comment:

  1. HA HA I could be looking at our photos from 2 weeks ago on the same train ride two 2 weeks ago!!
    We are in Memphis for the evening after 3 days in New Orleans.
    Safe travels!!